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Aircraft construction: Boeing boss apologizes for 737 Max crashes

Aircraft construction: Boeing boss apologizes for 737 Max crashes
Aircraft construction: Boeing boss apologizes for 737 Max crashes

The crashes of two 737 Max aircraft in 2018 and 2019 still haunt Boeing. CEO Dave Calhoun is feeling this at a hearing.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun apologized to relatives of victims of the two 737 Max aircraft crashes in 2018 and 2019 at a hearing in the US Senate. 346 people were killed in the accidents.

“I apologize for the suffering we have caused,” said Calhoun, addressing several relatives present in the room. Boeing is placing an increased focus on safety in memory of the victims.

The accidents involving 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by Indonesian Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were caused by problems with assistance software. The system, called MCAS, was intended to help pilots control the aircraft in certain situations. In both cases, however, they were surprised by a clear and erroneous intervention by the software.

“Are responsible for these crashes”

Boeing had admitted at the time that the company had not correctly informed the US aviation authority FAA about the extent of pilot training required to operate the software. Calhoun now reiterated: “MCAS and Boeing are responsible for these crashes.” After the second accident, 737 Max aircraft remained grounded for almost two years until changes were made to the system.

The hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations was called because Boeing is currently under acute pressure to improve quality controls. The trigger was a near-accident involving a virtually new Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft in early January.

Shortly after takeoff, a part of the fuselage of the Alaska Airlines flight with more than 170 people on board broke off. The accident investigation authority NTSB assumes that fastening bolts were missing from the broken-off part. Boeing was unable to provide investigators with any documentation of work on the fragment.

Whistleblower accuses Beoing of production errors

“Alaska was a manufacturing error,” said Calhoun. But he stressed that this was the only case he knew of among the recent mishaps in US aviation that was due to manufacturing and not subsequent maintenance. In recent months, Boeing planes belonging to various airlines have been in the headlines. One lost a wheel during takeoff, for example, and another landed with a flap torn off the fuselage.

A Boeing whistleblower recently testified in the subcommittee, accusing the company of manufacturing errors in the 787 Dreamliner model. Boeing denies the allegations. Calhoun did not comment on individual points of criticism, but said that not all warnings had proven to be accurate.

The manager called reports that a whistleblower had previously been persecuted at Boeing “heartbreaking.” But that was long before his time. Calhoun has been at the helm of Boeing since the beginning of 2020 and will leave the post at the end of the year. A successor has not yet been announced.

Source: Stern

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